Sleep problems, your period, your perfume, your diet soda habit—find out about these and other surprising causes of puffy, swollen eyes, so you can get rid of the puffiness fast and help prevent the blowfish look from returning.
The skin around the eyes is more fragile, more prone to dryness, and quicker to show age and fatigue. Squinting and constant movement of the eyes also hasten the appearance of lines and wrinkles, and fluids collect under the eyes and cause puffiness and dark circles. Eye creams can address some of these issues.
So although it can be inconvenient, the best advice is to make sure you take them out before hitting the sack. Instead of waiting until the last sleepy minute, one trick is to remove your contact lenses in the late afternoon or evening—so you don’t forget or get lazy, doze off in them, and wake up looking like a blowfish.
The best thing for puffiness is to go cold. Tom Vichroski of CRDR Consulting, Inc., a member of the Society of Cosmetic Chemists, recommends cool ingredients — literally. Keeping your cream in the fridge is the equivalent of giving your eye area a cold shower and helps reduce early-morning puffiness.
Beyond how you sleep, how much you sleep is also a factor. Although limited sleep may not actually cause under-eye circles, getting little sleep may make your complexion paler. Any shadows or dark circles you have may be more obvious as a result.
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I don’t recommend coconut oil as eye cream. I had a light crease under my eye yesterday.. After one night of this mixture under eye, it’s deep and huge. It’s kind of a disaster. I’m guessing but the extreme greasiness on such delicate skin might cause wrinkles. I thought it couldn’t hurt to try something once.–It did.

I’m still figuring out what exactly does and does not make me have a weird allergic reaction under my eyes. However, I recently picked this up on the recommendation of the girls at the K-beauty store oo35mm (for dark circles and wrinkles), and it’s given me no trouble at all! So far, I’m very impressed.
This winter has been hard on this mom. I’ve noticed that under my eyes my skin was getting more dry, puffy and tired looking then it has ever been. I needed some miracle cream without breaking the bank.
There’s a third form of pink eye that can cause eye puffiness too: allergy-related pink eye, which tends to affect both eyes at the same time and typically causes watery discharge and itching in the corners of your eyes. If you also experience a runny nose or sneezing when you have pink eye, it’s probably allergy-related, says Dr. Manusis.
For a lightweight, fast-absorbing day cream, you’ve got four options: Botanics, Estee Lauder, Philosophy, and Clinique. Botanics All Bright Refreshing Eye Roll-On was our testers’ favorite, leaving skin feeling smooth and moisturized while leaving behind so little residue as to be “invisible.” Estee Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair Eye Serum (despite the name, it doesn’t contain retinoids or mineral oils) was the second most popular.
Don’t like water? The good news is that all fluids count toward your daily total. Still, water is a low-calorie option. Try sparkling waters, flavored waters, or even water infused with fruit. Hot or cold herbal decaffeinated tea is another good choice.
Dermatologists don’t recommend the at-home kits as they’re less effective and there’s some danger of infection transmission. Don’t share needles with other people to prevent disease transmission. This approach isn’t a good choice for people who have a history of keloids or who easily scar.
The good news: when your period nears its end, the swelling should subside, whether it’s around your eyes or elsewhere. Until it does, you can reduce the eye puffiness by holding a cold compress to the eyes for a few minutes and drinking lots of water (which helps flush out excess fluid your system is holding on to). Dr. Jalimon also suggests looking into eye creams and serums with caffeine, which can reduce the appearance of swelling.
Some eye cream types contain ingredients that help firm the skin, like caffeine, retinol, or vitamin C. These may temporarily provide a firmer look to the eyes. Those creams that help to lighten skin around the eyes, especially dark circles may contain ingredients such as hydroquinone or Vitamin K. Occasionally you’ll find creams that offer anti-aging or firming benefits and reduce dark circles.
We all know that the skin under our eyes is extremely delicate. It is almost always the first to age and is about 0.5mm thick while the rest of our skin is about 2 mm thick. Under eye skin, or periorbital skin, becomes thinner much faster than it should when it is not cared for appropriately. With the hectic lifestyles and the constant pollution we’re exposed to, the skin deteriorates, showing the blood vessels under your skin more clearly. This causes the appearance of dark circles.
Consume cabbage or cranberry juice. Both are diuretics, which will help you “evacuate” some excess fluid.[6] Don’t turn to caffeine as your diuretic of choice, as it can interfere with sleep and bring back the puffiness.
This is my favorite under-eye product, and don’t make me tell you again why I love snail so much! Its regenerative properties not only work wonders on blemish scars, but also help with any kind of hyperpigmentation, including dark under-eye circles. It’s also super beneficial for helping with wrinkles and dryness. I keep these in the fridge, so they’re nice and cold when I use them — adding another level of luxury to the experience.
Toward that end, Dr. Rhonda Klein, a dermatologist based in Connecticut, told us to avoid fragrances, “especially if you have sensitive skin or notice any skin irritation.” No product will be truly scentless, but ones with synthetic fragrances (usually written as “fragrance” or “parfum” on ingredients lists) can be particularly irritating.
VLCC’s Skin Defense Almond Under Eye Cream claims to be the perfect caretaker for your eyes. It contains chamomile extract, olive oil, wheat germ extract, and vitamin E. The product helps soothe and moisturize your skin while treating puffiness and dark circles.
Eating too many salty foods may be at the root of your under-eye bags. Salt contributes to your body’s fluid retention and can make you puffy overall. It may also lead to other health issues, like heart disease and stroke.
The table below does not include all companies or all available products in the market but those that we promote as their affiliates. In full compliance with the FTC guidelines, please assume that any and all links on the table are affiliate links, and we may receive compensation if you click one of these and make a purchase. We are independently owned and the opinions expressed here are our own. All editorial content is written without prejudice or bias, regardless of sponsor or affiliate associations.
Quitting smoking also helps with a host of other health issues. You can add years to your life, get rid of stained teeth, and reduce your chances of developing diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and certain cancers.
Forest Essentials’ Intensive Eye Cream With Anise has been specially formulated to treat the delicate under eye area. It helps reduce dark circles and diminish dark circles, while also toning and firming the skin around your eyes. This herbal product contains extracts of papaya and potato starch, both of which help provide your skin with hydration.
Many cosmetic companies now produce colored creams that can easily improve your appearance. Almay i-Color products are one great example, giving you a dramatic boost of color while simultaneously protecting your skin against the effects of aging. Black Radiance cr?me eye color is available in a number of shades to enhance your skincare routine.
In the United States, Congress passes laws to protect consumers’ health and safety. The Federal Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) clearly states “articles…intended to affect the structure or function of…” skin are considered drugs, and as such, must get FDA pre-market approval before going to market. In addition, the manufacturer must prove safety and efficacy of that product. An eye cream, however, is not a drug—it is a cosmetic and doesn’t require FDA pre-market approval or need to demonstrate its safety or efficacy. Cosmetics are defined as “articles intended to be rubbed, poured, sprinkled, or sprayed on, introduced into, or otherwise applied…for cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness, or altering the appearance.” By law, manufacturers of cosmetics, including eye creams, may claim that their product improves the appearance of the skin, as many well-formulated moisturizers temporarily do, but they cannot legally claim that their product actually alters the structure or function of the skin, as this would make the product a drug and require FDA pre-market approval.
Reduce stress. High levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, can lead to a number of physical symptoms including swollen or puffy eyes. Try yoga, controlled breathing exercises, or meditation. All of these help moderate stress and are thought to help improve overall circulation. [8]
Made this 2 weeks ago and all I can say is this is magic potion. I have had the worst dark circles and to top it I have dry skin… worst combination of under eye skin problems. I had started developing tiny wrinkles under eyes also which would be highlighted with makeup. After using this cream for 2 weeks my dark circles are negligible, the skin under eyes has improved over all and now my tiny wrinkles are not highlighted with makeup… I am a fan ? I cant believe how much money I have spent on expensive eye and under eye products which took forever to show results often putting me off and not using them for long….
Dear Valentina, dark circles are caused due to various reasons such as allergies, eczema, contact dermatitis, fatigue, heredity pigmentation irregularities or rubbing or scratching your eyes. It is important to recognize the cause of your condition. Despite trying all the home remedies if your dark circles do not fade away then it is advisable to consult a dermatologist.
As a moisturizer, an eye cream may increase water content of skin and temporarily improve the appearance of the skin. But so will many well-formulated facial moisturizers for a fraction of the cost. Consider trying these home remedies for puffy eyes and dark circles instead, and make sure you’re educated on the secrets the beauty industry doesn’t want you to know to avoid getting swindled in the future.
If hollow or aging eyes are your issue, try these collagen eye patches. They’re great for plumping, softening, and hydrating your under-eyes to make you look visibly more awake throughout the day. Again, these are best when stuck in the fridge overnight. I also love putting these on during the final stretch of flights, so I look a little more awake when I land.
L’Oreal Paris’ White Perfect Magic White Double Whitening Eye Cream claims to whiten the skin from the inside, helping fade dark circles. It helps brighten the under eye area and claims to show results with the first use. It helps inhibit the production of melanin, which curbs pigmentation problems.
Eye creams, who needs them? Just about everyone, actually — no matter your age. While it’s beneficial to start using any anti-aging products in your twenties, eye creams are often the most forgotten when it comes to skin care.
Perfect for those mornings where you wake up feeling less than bright-eyed, Clinique’s Pep Start Eye Cream is a lightweight formula which instantly awakens the eye area, depuffing and diminishing dark circles as it hydrates.
We find the best of everything. How? We start with the world. We narrow down our list with expert insight and cut anything that doesn’t meet our standards. We hand-test the finalists. Then, we name our top picks.
If you are sensitive to eye treatments (or just have particularly sensitive under-eye skin in general), this is the product for you! This is meant for “worn out eyes,” so anyone struggling with fine lines, dehydrated eyes, or dark circles.
You may consider also cutting back on alcohol to see relief. Why does this work? It’s a similar idea to drinking more water. Drinking alcohol contributes to dehydration, and dehydration may lead to bags and dark circles under your eyes.
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Vitamin D Depends on factors such as one’s exposure to UV light: 400 to 2,000 IU per day Reduces risk of nearsightedness, pink eye, keratoconus, and cataracts; strengths bones within body; improves skin Sunlight; limited amounts of fortified foods; fish; fish liver oils
Also worth considering are NIOD Fractionated Eye-Contour Concentrate, and Eco Your Skin VOLUFILINE15 EYE ESSENCE. NIOD was the only true eye serum that made it to our list of finalists — it’s a liquid that comes in a dropper. It doesn’t absorb as quickly as Drunk Elephant or Mizon, with all of our testers reporting moderately oily residue. Eco Your Skin is heavier still — we almost bumped it into our “heavy creams” category. Its standout features is the size of its bottle. Unlike most of our finalists, which usually cap at 15 mL, Eco Your Skin comes in a 50 mL bottle. This helps explain its higher price tag ($70).
“I’m one of the people who thinks eye creams are kind of BS—a regular light moisturizer does that trick just fine for me—but I’ve recently noticed how damn puffy my area looks. Blame it on December cheer, an excess of salt, and not enough water, but I started using this collagen-rich gel—which I keep in the fridge—and found it actually works to de-puff and hydrate. It also promises to blur fine lines, which I didn’t experience yet, but I’m planning to stick with it, mainly thanks to its powerful helix complex—an organic compound rich in allantoin, collagen, elastin, and glycolic acid.” —Perrie Samotin, digital deputy editor
Bags under eyes are usually a cosmetic concern and rarely a sign of a serious underlying medical condition. At-home remedies, such as cool compresses, can help improve the appearance of bags under eyes. For persistent or bothersome under-eye puffiness, eyelid surgery may be an option.
The truth is that only very few are actually effective and some may even contain harmful ingredients. When you’re in the market for an eye cream, you need to be very careful and learn about the ingredients to look for in eye creams that are clinically proven to be effective and safe. You can also use customer feedback to gauge the effectiveness and safety of the eye creams you’re considering for purchase.
Apply an astringent substance to your eyes. You can buy astringent creams and tonics that help reduce puffiness by tightening the skin around your eyes. Soak two cotton balls in astringent cream or tonic, lie back and close your eyes, and place the cotton balls over your eyes. Let the astringent soak in for about 10 minutes, then remove the cotton balls and rinse your face.
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